on 4 August 2001
Far from the numerous memoirs of childhoods spent in Imperial Russia, Olga was 36 years old in 1918 and so is able to give a mature and considered account of the characters and events leading up to the Revolution. As the closest surviving relative of the Tsar she gives the most authoratative account of the Romanovs en famille and it is a suprise that it has taken so long for this book to be re-published. It is essential reading not only for its historical importance but also for the delicious detail of a life long disappeared. Everything from the breakfast menu to the gossip of the Court balls is included in a human interest rather than a documentary fashion.
This book is a remarkable memoir of a lady whose life paradoxically reached fulfillment only when all else had been stripped away. One must allow it a few pinches of salt - the words of an old and infirm lady eager to put the record straight are unlikely to be 100% accurate but they do convey the essence of the people and events they describe from a unique perspective. Olga's dignity informs every page and you will be moved by this book, as she says 'If I started crying I wouldn't stop - so instead I laugh'. Her optimism is uplifting and you will miss her after you have turned the final page.